Last Friday we interviewed Frédéric Desiles, strategic and marketing director at Alternatives économiques and user of our paywall solution Poool Access since December 2018. The publication had recently disclosed having doubled their number of digital subscribers and, even better, being able to make a profit. So that’s what we’ve been wanting to talk about with him to understand better their acquisition strategy, the tests put in practice and their results.

Alternatives économiques is a French magazine about economic and social news.

Many ideas, few certainties…

When we first started to work with Alternatives Economiques, the goal of the publication was clear – developing the acquisition of digital subscribers. To reach this aim, Frédéric and his team weren’t lacking ideas (to say the least) but had few certainties as to the good strategy to adopt.

Two strategies competed with one another:

  • Either offer three articles per month to a reader to let them discover the content, then require a subscription to read on
  • Or offer a free article in return of a registration to the newsletter, then after reading the second article, ask the said reader to subscribe. The aim of the second option was both to create a reading habit through the newsletter and to use the data collected for marketing purposes.

Before using Poool Access, the Alternatives Economiques website had a ‘static’ paywall, which means that the paywall couldn’t be modified, customized and couldn’t provide A/B tests.


The results were very encouraging because, after several months, the recruitment of digital subscriptions increased thanks to the newsletter scenario. And more, this scenario enabled the publication to double their numbers of members registered to their newsletters, from 100k to 200k.

Frédéric is now aware of the acquisition cost of a newsletter subscriber as well as their probability of converting to a subscription. This allows Frédéric to manage more effectively his acquisition strategy.

Alternatives économiques doubled their number of digital subscribers to reach 15k thanks to an audacious marketing strategy but, before all, thanks to a clear and set value proposition, relevant contents and a close and genuine relationship with their readers.

So, what do you think about Poool Access?

Of course, we wanted to know what Frédéric liked about our solution.

And here is his answer: “Poool Access solution allows us to try out different acquisition strategies easily, quickly and regularly and to keep on bettering conversion towards our number one priority: subscription.”. That’s undeniably nice for us to hear! But what’s most relevant is to understand his future needs to keep on his acquisition strategy. To our question, he answered “an advanced design editor would enable us to create and try out different paywall formats for the same target of development of digital subscriptions”. Well, how convenient that this feature is already set in our roadmap and will be launched before the end of the year!

Thanks Frédéric and well done Alternatives économiques!